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Novartis lawyer steps down over Trump lawyer payment

18 May 2018

Stormy Daniels' lawyer said Thursday that he is almost done confirming the accounts of two women who say they had sex with Donald Trump and then signed secrecy agreements that paid them even more than the $130,000 the adult film star received.

Cohen is now faced with a federal investigation into his business dealings and the payment he made to an adult film star who claimed to have an affair with Trump in 2006.

The messages about Trump Tower Moscow, which were sent to Russian-born Trump associate Felix Sater, are now in the hands of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. He says he's uncertain if Cohen's notes about those meetings are among the seized documents, but it's clear he doesn't want Avenatti - who's trying to intervene in the FBI's case - to get his hands on them.

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The deputy attorney general is overseeing the Department of Justice investigation into whether Trump aides colluded with alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Among his holdings, he took in $25 million from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

That shell company is Essential Consultants LLC, which Cohen set up in October 2016 to issue a $130,000 payment as part of a nondisclosure agreement with an adult-film star who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump. The value of the payment ranged from $100,001 to $250,000.

Trump said that he repaid a $130,000 payment that Cohen made to Clifford just days before the presidential election in 2016 and suggested that the payment by Cohen to the actress could not be considered a campaign contribution.

Trump admits to reimbursing lawyer who paid off porn star
The US president's filing states he repaid Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, for an expense between $100,001 and $250,000. The Office of Government Ethics said the president's report is under review.

Davidson also represented Stormy Daniels at the time she struck a hush money deal with Cohen.

The acting director of OGE, David J. Apol, concluded that Trump's report "meets the disclosure requirements" - the outside group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had filed a complaint that Trump's 2017 form had improperly omitted a "loan" from Cohen - but noted that making that debt public "is required".

The official who released the suspicious-activity reports was aware of the risks, but said fears that the missing reports might be suppressed compelled the disclosure.

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Trump's financial disclosure, released by the Office of Government Ethics, did not specify the objective of the payment.

Michael Cohen's attorney, Steve Ryan, won't discuss the $500,000 Michael Avenatti says Cohen received from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in 2017.

AT&T, which has acknowledged paying some $600,000 to Cohen and was also named by Daniels' lawyer, has also said it was a "big mistake" and a "serious misjudgement" to hire Trump's lawyer, even as it maintained its actions were legal.

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Novartis lawyer steps down over Trump lawyer payment